As we head into the sweltering heat of summer, we wanted to take a few minutes to remind you that proper hydration is critical for your overall health – and also your vision.

In its simplest definition, dehydration is caused when more water leaves the body than enters. Many people don’t know this, but if you’re feeling thirsty, you’re probably already dehydrated!

You can become dehydrated if you are consuming too little water or from excessive sweating. Dehydration can also be caused by the overconsumption of alcohol or coffee, excess sugar or salt, too much exercise and even significant injuries to the skin.

When your body becomes low on fluids, it will do everything possible to preserve what is left in your system. Dehydration leads to excessive thirst, dry mouth, muscle cramps, headaches, sleepiness and a lack of tear production.

Tear production is crucial when it comes to lubricating your eyes. When you blink, your tears are used to cleanse and protect your eyes from harmful dust and debris, and tears also moisturize your eyes, keeping them relaxed and comfortable.

Dehydration can lead to eye strain, dry eyes and vision problems. If your eyes are red and itchy in hot weather and you have trouble producing tears when crying, it is most likely from dehydration.

For patients who have recently completed iLASIK™ surgery, dry eyes is a common symptom in the first couple months. For iLASIK™ patients, as well as those with contact lenses or any other predisposition to dry eyes, proper hydration is critical as your eyes are already vulnerable to dryness.

As the heat begins to climb and you spend more time outdoors, make sure you are drinking a minimum of 2-3 litres of water a day – and even more if you are consuming coffee or alcohol. We recommend buying a glass or stainless steel bottle, and keeping track of how much water you’re consuming. Smartphone apps like iHydrate or Waterlogged can help.

If water isn’t your favourite and 2-3 litres sounds more like 2-3 gallons, try adding lemon or lime wedges, or infusing your water with fresh fruits, veggies and herbs. A couple delicious examples are cucumber/rosemary and watermelon/mint. There is also a wide range of flavour enhancers on the market, many without sugar, sweeteners or additives!

Coconut water is a great choice on hot days as it is jam-packed with electrolytes which help with hydration. Sparking water is also incredibly refreshing, and perfect as long as its sodium free.

If you’re considering vision correction surgery and are concerned because you experience dry eyes, call Image Plus and we will find a procedure that’s right for you.